Saturday, April 19, 2003

I love my new laptop. I'm using the wireless network right now, at Starbucks on Grove St. near my apartment. Yes, the weather outside is beautiful, and it's stupid to sit inside and surf when I could be outside reading, but hey: it's my life, my wife is out of town this weekend, so I can surf here without feeling guilty for ignoring her, and I will go outside in a few minutes and read more of Doctor Faustus. Only 200 pages to go!

Last night, I finally saw The Devil's Advocate from beginning to end. I'd seen the middle section of the movie several times on HBO and cable, but never the entire thing. It's a damn good movie, no great work of cinema, but it was an entertaining way to spend two-plus hours. Al Pacino is in full-on shouting rant mode, but it's never as unnecessarily excessive as it has been in some of his more recent films. Keanu Reeves is not and will never be considered one of the great actors of his generation, but he does a good job here as the young attorney from the sticks suddenly out of his element and forced to deal with circumstances he never could have contemplated. I couldn't help make comparisons between the law firm in the movie and my own firm, something that I'm sure happened often at my office in 1997 when the movie first came out. Both firms represent multinational corporations and foreign governments, both have breathtaking views of the city from offices in lower Manhattan, and both have the power to entertain the elite of New York. However, I'm fairly certain that Satan isn't one of my firm's senior partners.

We had a Passover seder on Wednesday night, at a friend's apartment in Brooklyn. The arrival of my friend's parents disrupted our plans, in that he wasn't available to do any of the cooking that day, leaving me to roast the chicken myself, according to his recipe. If I'd known it was that easy to brine and roast a bird, I'd have done it years ago. So much for buying the rotisserie chicken at the supermarket. Still, even with the craziness, the seder went well. For most of the evening, Jews were the majority of the participants, something that's never happened as long as my friends and I have hosted a seder. We took turns reading the haggadah, though we skipped the songs and the games at the end. The hiding and subsequent search for the afikoman wasn't so much a puzzle as just storing it for later. As usual, the festivities ran long, so we were left to fly through thirty pages of prayers in about five minutes. That's OK; I don't think my mother ever made us sit around the table and read everything that's in the haggadah after the meal and dessert. I think the Gentiles in attendance (most of whom had not been to one of our seders before) left with a little more knowledge of the history and rituals than they had before, and they weren't even subjected to the delicacy known as gefilte fish.

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